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Lenox Hill Hospital Successfully Implants First Endovascular Aortic Valve

March 7, 2011

Lenox Hill Hospital’s structural heart intervention team completed its first two percutaneous transcatheter aortic valve implants. The trial, which encompasses 40 hospitals across the country, is evaluating a revolutionary non-surgical, less-invasive procedure as a treatment alternative to open-heart surgery for patients with severe aortic stenosis.

Two patients with critical aortic stenosis – which prevents the heart’s aortic valve from opening completely – and considered at very high risk for standard surgery underwent the procedure. The 86-and 87-year-old patients, who are both doing extremely well, walked within hours of the procedure. It is as if we are “living science fiction” noted Itzhak Kronzon, MD, Director of Cardiac Imaging, who helped guide the valve implantation using 3D Echocardiography.

“There is significant need for a new treatment option for patients with aortic stenosis, and it is enormously rewarding that Lenox Hill Hospital can take part in evaluating this revolutionary new treatment option in our community,” said Gary Roubin, MD, PhD,Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital. “As the population ages, the need for this procedure will continue to grow, since aortic stenosis is a condition that develops with age. Many people who are otherwise healthy could benefit significantly from this procedure.”

Worldwide, approximately 300,000 people have been diagnosed with this condition (100,000 in the U.S.), and approximately one-third of these patients are deemed to beat too high a risk for open-heart surgery, the only therapy with significant clinical effect that is currently available in the United States.

In the clinical trial, physicians channel a catheter (thin tube) with a prosthetic valve through a small opening in the patient’s femoral artery to reach the heart. The physician guides the prosthetic valve to the aortic valve, where it self-expands to replace the diseased aortic valve; the procedure is completed without open-heart surgery or surgical removal of the native valve.

In the U.S., the procedure will not be commercially available until the successful completion of this clinical trial and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Because open-heart surgery is currently the only available treatment option for these patients, and because the risks of surgery can be significant for many patients, the medical community is searching for less-invasive option for these patients,” said Carlos Ruiz, MD, PhD, Chief of Adult Structural Heart Program at Lenox Hill Hospital.